Hokies focused on next 40

Story by Chris Graham

Listen to “The SportsDominion Show” ACC Basketball Monday interview with Virginia Tech coach Seth Greenberg. Show Length: 11:29.

greenberg_s.jpgThings are rolling along for Virginia Tech. Back-to-back-to-back wins have the Hokies back on the NCAA Tournament bubble.

Not that Seth Greenberg wants anybody to talk about that. He doesn’t like the word bubble.

Bubble, bubble, bubble, bubble …


Greenberg’s focus is on the next 40 minutes, as boring as he admits it sounds to say that.

The next 40 minutes won’t be easy. Tech (17-11, 8-6 ACC) will tangle with Wake Forest (16-11, 6-8 ACC) Tuesday night in Blacksburg. The Demon Deacons upended Virginia Tech 77-75 in a game in Winston-Salem in December, and like the Hokies, the Deacs are also on the tournament bubble.

“When you talk about Wake Forest, there’s a couple of things you’ve got to do,” Greenberg said today during his weekly teleconference with reporters. “You’ve got to contain the ball off the bounce. You’ve got to do a good job, obviously, guarding all their ball screens at different angles. You’ve got to keep them off the glass. And you’ve got to contain (James) Johnson on his isolations at the four spot. He’s a tough matchup. And (Chas) McFarland is playing at a pretty high level.

“They’ve got a lot of things they can do well. But I think it all starts with defending the basketball,” Greenberg said.

The two teams that will meet tomorrow night at Cassell Coliseum are far different beasts than the ones that tangled in December.

“I think they’ve gotten better, and hopefully we’ve gotten better,” Greenberg said. “You should be better now than you were in December. You have a better feeling for who you are, your identity, what it takes to win, your substitution patterns, what your guys do well, what certain guys have improved in certain areas, hopefully you’ve developed some depth.

“To me, both teams are better,” Greenberg said. “And in the end, you’ve got to make plays on the court. There’s a very, very thin line, no matter whether it’s Virginia Tech-Wake Forest, Maryland-Clemson, it makes no difference. One play, most times in this league, determines success or failure.”

One other focal point for Greenberg – how his team responds to having had a week off since its last game, a 67-48 win over Boston College last Tuesday.

“I think we’ve had a good off-week,” Greenberg said. “Obviously, I was pleased with our play last week against Boston College on Tuesday. We gave them two days off to get their legs, and then we’ve had pretty good practices. Only time will tell, though. You never know coming off an off-week. We had things going pretty good, and we felt pretty good about our basketball team. Sometimes it’s good to have a week off, and sometimes it’s not so good. We’ll see how we respond to that situation.”


Chris Graham is the executive editor of The SportsDominion.

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